It’s that time again. Time for America to once again be overtaken by calls to raise the minimum wage. In some places, Seattle for example, the clamored-for rate is as high as $15. And while all’s not yet said and done, we can rest assured that we won’t make it out of the regulatory push without the minimum wage being hiked in most places.
I’ll spare you the usual prattle of the consequences of raising the minimum wage, such as employers hiring fewer workers and more jobs going under the legal radar. I’ll even spare you the moral arguments against using the threat of force to prevent a peaceful, voluntary business exchange. No, I’m here to talk about something altogether: robots.
That’s right. When human labor becomes too expensive, you can bet your social justice-seeking bottom that businesses will try to find another way of getting work done. And it seems like they have their answer, in the form of a burger-flipping robot. This little bad boy named Alpha can crank out 360 burgers an hour, and can save a business enough money to pay for itself in a year. There’s no competing with that. Pretty soon, faced with increasing labor costs because of minimum wage laws, service jobs traditionally held by the poorest of the poor will disappear entirely.
What’s a fair living wage? $9 per hour? $11? $15? How about zero?